Cast Iron

Schmaltz-y Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

February 23, 2010
4 Ratings
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

Like others have mentioned, I feel like I've tried 800 different ways to roast a chicken. After trying Thomas Keller's simple roasted chicken recipe in the Bouchon cookbook, I knew I had found the method for me. No butter. No oil. Just pure, delicious, schmaltz-y goodness. I've made a few simple adaptations to his recipe, and wanted to share them with you. —arielleclementine

What You'll Need
  • 1 4-5 lb happy chicken
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 pillow of fat, plucked from the cavity of your chicken
  • 1 medium-large yukon gold potato, cut in 1" dice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Pat down your chicken obsessively, until it is perfectly dry. If you haven't already done so, remove the little pillow of fat that's attached to the front of the cavity of your chicken. (If your chicken doesn't have this, see if you can trim some fat from other parts of the chicken).
  3. Put a hefty sprinkling of salt and pepper in the cavity of the bird, and then truss the bird with kitchen string. Put the chicken in a large cast iron skillet, and sprinkle it liberally with salt and pepper, turning the bird to coat the sides as well as the top. Toss the fat you pulled off the bird into the skillet as well, so that it will render in the oven. Put the bird into the oven immediately. It is very important that you salt the bird right before you put it in the oven. If you salt the bird and then wait for the oven to preheat, the salt will draw moisture out of the chicken, and this will inhibit your skin from crisping.
  4. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, lift up the chicken and put the diced potato into the skillet, so it can mingle with the rapidly-rendering chicken fat. Put the chicken back on top and put it back in the oven for another 45 minutes.
  5. Remove the chicken from the oven, and put on a cutting board. Toss the fresh thyme into the skillet, and mix it in so it coats the potatoes. Tilt the skillet so that your chicken fat/thyme liquid runs to the side, and spoon some of this over the chicken, so that the bird becomes shiny with chicken fat and flecked with thyme. Allow the bird to rest for 10 minutes, then devour, along with those schmaltz-y potatoes.
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See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • pierino
  • mrslarkin
  • mtlabor
  • Helenthenanny
  • arielleclementine
I have always loved food. My favorite books as a kid always featured food (eg. The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies- so much candy!) and I loved cooking shows like Yan Can Cook and The Frugal Gourmet. I started cooking the Thanksgiving dinner for my family when I was 13 years old. I have food52 to thank for inspiring me to come up with my own recipes, as well as for introducing me to a community of fantastic cooks and their amazing recipes. I try my best to cook locally and seasonally, and I tend to prefer straightforward, simple recipes where the ingredients get to shine. I live in wonderful Austin, Texas with my husband, Andy (a video game programmer) and my son, Henry (an 8-month-old who loves to eat).

14 Reviews

AMAZING chicken recipe and so simple to make! I prepare this often for my husband and friends and they can't seem to get enough. I use the organic 4/5 lbs. chicken from Trader Joe's, 3 potatoes, and fresh time. I also leave the bird in for five minutes longer than the suggested time 50 minutes so that it is cooked completely through. Thanks for sharing! xoxo
pierino February 23, 2010
Keller and schmaltz; what could go wrong? I use a lot of Keller techniques myself, not the Laundryish stuff but the rock bottom basics. Same with Ruhlman, who has been Keller's ongoing ghost writer.
arielleclementine February 23, 2010
haha- thanks, pierino! i agree- i love looking at the french laundry cookbook, but i have yet to make anything from it. i find the bouchon cookbook a lot more approachable. i've heard great things about ad hoc, but haven't looked at it yet. ruhlman's a rock star.
pierino February 24, 2010
AD HOC AT HOME is a really fine book which I recommend all the time. Ruhlman has made himself Boswell to Keller's Johnson; his emanuensis if you like. But I'm not going anywhere near UNDER PRESSURE. If you are Keller maybe you can pull it off but sous vide reminds me too much of old Stouffers' Swedish Meatballs in a vac-pac that you boil. Some of the biggest blowouts on Top Chef took place when contestants went to the immersion circulator. A fun book to read is SERVICE INCLUDED by Phoebe Damrosch about working at Per Se.
MrsWheelbarrow February 27, 2010
I've got all three Keller tomes (but find that Ruhlman's Ratio app for IPhone is fast becoming most useful tool) and Bouchon provides the best education in solid techniques. Ad Hoc is pretty, and I keep paging through, but I have yet to make anything from it. From French Laundry, I can recommend the recipes for pb&j candies at the back of the book. I make them as take aways for the most decadent dinner parties, or as pillow treats for houseguests.
arielleclementine February 28, 2010
thanks, Mrs. Wheelbarrow! that's really good to know- i will definitely have to try the pb&j candies! i'm contemplating getting an iPhone- all the more incentive now (i had not heard about ruhlman's app). i've also got to check out this 'flavor bible' everyone's talking about.
pierino February 28, 2010
One of the most useful recipes I've discovered in BOUCHON is Keller's "garlic confit" in which peeled cloves are poached in oil. Handy to have in your fridge for all sorts of things.
arielleclementine February 28, 2010
thanks, pierino! it's really nice to hear what recipes have been successful for other home cooks :)
mrslarkin February 23, 2010
mmmmm...yummmm. I almost licked the screen. The wings are the BEST! And those oyster thingies you get to pluck out when you're carving up the bird.
arielleclementine February 23, 2010
thank you! yes! the oysters are the cook's delight- i love how they're housed in those perfect little pockets!
mtlabor February 23, 2010
this looks delicious!
arielleclementine February 23, 2010
thank you kindly!
Helenthenanny February 23, 2010
That is one fat hen! Looks delicious! And I know it is!
arielleclementine February 23, 2010
thanks, sissy-pot! i got to eat both the chicken wings. i was a happy girl.